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Stacona drops 27 in first win

Sophomore point guard shines in season-opening win
The Madras girls basketball team jumped out to a 13-3 lead and beat the Crook County Cowgirls, 54-44, to start the 2012 season Friday night in Prineville.
   Sophomore point guard Mariah Stacona poured in a game-high 27 points and Inez Jones chipped in 11 to pave the way for the team's first win.
   "We did a really good job in the first half controlling what we could control," Madras first-year head coach Mike Osborne said. "We dictated the tempo and took advantage of opportunities."
   While the Buffs entered the year with a young roster, they only turned the ball over nine time in the first half, something Osborne was very impressed with. They also ran their halfcourt offense effectively and got plenty of open looks at the hoop.
   Stacona scored her points as a direct result of good, disciplined set execution, Osborne said.
   "She created four or five shots, but got to the basket a lot driving off a screen or pass," he said. "We didn't isolate or clear out for her."
   Osborne also said Jones and Josie Hunt performed well, saying Jones is going to have to become more of scorer this season as one of the team's three seniors.
   "She'll need to change her mentality a little bit," Osborne said. "We need her to be aggressive scoring and rebounding."
   Crook County made things a little interesting in the fourth quarter with strong pressure defense, but the Buffs had built a big enough lead by then they could afford a little lapse.
   But, of course, that doesn't mean Osborne overlooked it.
   "We just had too many turnovers in the fourth quarter," he said. "We haven't been able to work on the press break much, so that's something we just need more time with and that will clear itself up."
   He also said the team didn't get nearly as many good shots out of its offense like they did in the first half.
   Even so, he liked how the team opened the season. He's got a very young team - six freshmen, three sophomores, a junior and three seniors makes up the roster - so there may be some growing pains during the nonconference schedule.
   "We've got to learn how to make adjustments on the fly and adapt to a situation," Osborne said.
   Freshman Vanessa Esqueval scored eight points, while Hunt chipped in five to help pace the Buffs.
   Madras fell to Mountain View on Tuesday in Bend, 49-21. A full recap of the game will be in next Wednesday's Pioneer.